Lawrence Rabinowitz

Lawrence Rabinowitz
April 9, 1933 — Sept. 12, 2016

Larry was born in San Francisco and died at his home in Davis. He attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, and completed his undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, as did his father and three uncles before him. He completed his Ph.D. at UC San Francisco, finishing his dissertation two months after his first child’s birth.

Larry enjoyed the friendship of many of his childhood friends and fellow students for the rest of his life. He met his wife, Celia, at Berkeley, winning her with his sometimes wild sense of humor, and his sensitivity to art, literature and music, as well as his dedication to science.

Larry’s career path took him to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and to a teaching position in the department of physiology at the University of North Carolina Medical School. While in Chapel Hill, N.C., in the 1960s, during the civil rights upheaval, Larry was a leader in bringing the first branch of the ACLU south of the Mason-Dixon line to North Carolina, in order to legally protect the many demonstrators and workers fighting for civil rights, among whom he counted himself.

Larry was one of the founding faculty the UC Davis Medical School, arriving in Davis with his wife, Celia, and three children, Dan, Dave and Jean, in 1967, very happy to be returning to California. Larry was full-time faculty for 31 years at UCD, and continued to teach part-time after retirement. His research centered on the physiology of the kidney, and he made major contributions to the understanding of potassium regulation. He was deeply committed to teaching. Among his most valued achievements were the student teaching awards he won at both the UNC and the UCD medical schools.

At retirement Larry was able to further his lifetime interest in painting and drawing. For nearly 15 years his great joy was to go almost daily onto campus to work in studio space that had been offered to him by the art department, exchanging the lab for the studio. He did not turn his back on his scientific work, however. He was a co-author of a review paper published when he was in his 80s, and was working on another  review paper in the last year of his life.

Throughout his life, Larry was never reluctant to speak up for what he believed, even when others did not want to hear what he had to say. His life was marked by his integrity, his imaginative sense of humor and his indomitable spirit. Though severely handicapped for much of his life, forced to use crutches or a wheelchair to navigate, he never let his disability keep him from doing what he wanted to do. He took his children camping while on crutches, traveled through Europe by wheelchair, did research at marine labs on both sides of the United States, and swam regularly in the cold waters of Lake Tahoe.

Larry was buried at the Davis Cemetery in a traditional Jewish ceremony with only his wife and children present, as he wished.

As published on The Davis Enterprise.